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Halt TPPA negotiation now! Rakyat will not concede to American corporate agenda

Parti Sosialis Malaysia is deeply concerned about the ongoing Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) Free Trade Agreements. The 18th round is to commence in Kota Kinabalu from the 15th July till 25th July, 2013.

Since its first inception as the US-Malaysia bilateral Free Trade Agreement in 2006, PSM has consistently protested the decision of the Malaysian government to enter into such negotiations. It was very clear since then, that the FTA is the agenda of American Corporations seeking to expand and control trade in the region. After having failed to impose their interest via World Trade Organisation, the US Corporations quickly lobbied their Congressman to commence bilateral agreements with the countries in Asia. 

Threatened by the growing economies of China and India, both United States and European Union are competing to control trade for their respective interest. Its another form of imperialism that will negate our national sovereignty.

Now after the fast track to negotiate the FTA during the Bush Administration expired in 2007, the TPPA is a renewed approach for the same goals. TPPA is FTA on steroids!  

In order to shield themselves against arguments that United States is the main driving force, now they call it a “ partnership” of interested countries. The current TPPA participating countries are Malaysia, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and USA.

It is obvious that the TPPA is to protect and enhance US corporate interest, whereby even the US Congressman to date are in the dark about the content of the negotiating text. But on the other hand, all the 29 chapters prepared for negotiating were shared with key US Corporations. 

Parti Sosialis Malaysia strongly feels that the TPPA negotiations must be discontinued at once by the Malaysian Government because; 

·         US Pharmaceutical companies are insisting on extending drug patents, via various expansion of patent protection for new forms, uses and methods of using known substances. Thus minor variations on old drugs can be patented again for another 20 years, eliminating any possibility of cheaper cost generic drugs to be produced.

·         Even medical procedures carried out by surgeons will be patented, thus making such procedures available only to those who can afford it.

·         Investor to State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) System, giving extensive powers to corporations to sue government which impose regulations on them , even though these corporations are found to be destroying the environment or producing toxic products /dumping toxic waste. 

·         Government will be forced to cut back on health budget, due to increase in medicine prices. The number of PLHIV patients receiving drugs from the Government Hospital will further diminish.

·         Tariff on imported products will be brought down to 0% thus making US products competitive and cheaper that local products. Local SME will suffer loss as they will not be able to compete when tariff are withdrawn abruptly. Infant industry status for upcoming local industries will not be possible, as TPPA demands fair and equal treatment of foreign and local companies by participating governments.   

·         Experiences from the NAFTA and trade liberalisation in Latin America countries have proven that such free trade agreements and lowering of tariff will cause massive job losses and increase in unemployment.

·         TPPA will cause further worsening of labour standards as investors will resist any regulations or new laws to enhance workers benefit introduced by government. They will claim that their future profits have been expropriated and will threaten to sue the government as it is provided in the TPPA. Governments cannot insist on transfer of technology to the local workforce. 

·         Increase in unemployment after the TPPA will also drive down wages nationally.
Parti Sosialis Malaysia thus calls the Malaysia Government to immediately;

1.      Halt all negotiations until the negotiating text is presented and debated in Parliament. The TPPA/FTA implications are beyond trade treaties thus must be dealt with differently through parliament scrutiny.

2.     Call for a referendum amongst the rakyat, to evaluate if they support the TPPA being signed. As it effects all walks of Malaysians it is only just and proper that the rakyat has to be informed of the content of the agreement and they decide on its benefit.

3.     Make public all cost benefit analysis (if any) done by the Government Ministries on how the TPPA will be beneficial to the rakyat .
Parti Sosialis Malaysia has been aggressively campaigning to inform and educate the rakyat of the TPPA concerns. PSM will launch a nationwide public leafleting campaign on 12th July, 2013 (Friday) in all states. On 16th July 2013, PSM together with unions and civil society will proceed to Parliament to raise our concerns and hand a memorandum to the Government and the Opposition calling for the above three demands .

PSM has no illusion of the true colours and intent of the TPPA/FTA as an agenda of American mega corporations. The American unions and people are also up in arms against the TPPA. PSM stands firm that the we should stop the TPPA immediately and walk away from negotiations as such agreements only benefits key Malaysian companies and not the 99% of the rakyat.

Thank you.

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